Disadvantages of being a summer student

Lex Treinen/Sun Star Reporter
August 28, 2012

After 6 months of snow and temperatures of negative 50, springtime in Fairbanks brings dreams of long weekends fishing in South Central, day hikes and berry picking in the hills around Fairbanks and dips in the Chena River  on hot days. Summer classes are usually far from the consciousness of the winter-worn students.

“When it gets hot I want to go to the lake or go hiking,” said senior Anthropology student Felicia Veech, “I just can’t sit inside studying and look at the sun.” There are more concrete reasons than lack of motivation.

Some of the same reasons that Summer Sessions attracts students to stay in Fairbanks over the summer are also reasons that students, particularly local students, might choose to avoid classes. Students like Veech can take advantage of full-time jobs at Facilities Services and Summer Sessions. For example, Veech is saving up her money so that she can finish up her anthropology degree and her job at Facilities Services allows her to earn overtime.

For some, a more pressing concern is the quality of the education. Over three hundred classes are offered over the summer semester, compared to 2200 classes available during the regular semesters. Especially lacking are the higher level classes, admits Summer Sessions Director Michelle Bartlett. The intense schedule demanded by summer classes—often meeting four hours a day—can be too much for students. Armando Arauz, a petroleum engineering student, said covering one or two chapters per day was detrimental to learning. “You don’t have enough time to take in everything,”Arauz said.  Veech added that in her experience the compact time schedule sometimes pushes teachers to skip the details that can help make a class useful in the long run.

The administration also offers fewer organized recreational activities in the summer. There are no intramurals offered during the summer, only the women’s rugby club, Bartlett said. The disc golf course might be popular, were it not for the fact that half of the holes are closed due to construction. The Student  Recreational Center, Rasmuson Library and the Wood Center all have reduced hours.  Hungry students might also find it hard to feed themselves, since the Lola Tilly Commons, Taco Bell and Freshens are all closed and Polar Perk, Pizza Luna and Grill 155 have reduced hours.

Students have other reasons for neglecting summer school at UAF: a labyrinth of construction projects that makes getting across campus seem like navigating a hedge maze, sometimes blistering summer heat, and, as we are reminded every so often in the summer, throat-choking smoke clouds that blanket campus.

When it comes down to it, every student has to decide for themselves how to take advantage of the ninety or so days of summer. For some, sitting inside studying is not the way to go. “Summer’s are so short,” Veech said. “It’s so hard to study.”

 

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